The 10 Best Things About Being a Police Officer

Why Working in Law Enforcement Is Awesome

Too often, you hear about the downside of being a police officer. But that's not the whole story by any means. There are practical and altruistic reasons to become a police officer, but the job can actually be rewarding and fun for many other reasons. Yes, there are opportunities for good pay and benefits and the chance to serve the public, protect your community, and make a difference in people's lives, but the job also can be fun. Even celebrities have taken jobs as police officers. So, whether you're already on the job and just need a boost, or you're on the fence about whether or not to step onto that thin blue line, consider the 10 best things about being a cop.

01
The Cars

Police car
Takahiro Yamamoto / Getty Images 

Cops and cars go together like, well, Starsky and Hutch. A lot of departments offer take-home cars, which is a huge plus, especially when you can check on and take a 10-8 right from your driveway.

Even if you work for a department that uses pool cars, there's nothing like patrolling the town in your mobile office. The police package upgrades all make driving so much more fun.

02
The Toys

Utility belt
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A police officer's utility belt is as close to being like Batman as you can legally get. No, cops don't get grappling guns and batarangs, but what they do carry are indispensable tools of the trade. High-power flashlights, stun guns, higher-capacity magazines and a well-performing sidearm, collapsible batons, and, of course, handcuffs all have become part of the identity of the modern police officer.

03
The Training

Cops training
 RichLegg / Getty Images

Cops work hard and train harder. They learn to protect themselves and others through rigorous defensive tactics training. It's hard work, but it's a lot of fun, and you get a great workout in the process. Cops also receives training in tactics and firearms, pursuit driving, first aid and CPR, and many specialty areas.

Ongoing training is so important you can pursue an entire career path as a police instructor or training officerPolice training reinforces the skills cops need to do their jobs, as well as skills that hopefully they'll never need outside of the training environment. The best part, though, is that good training provides all of the fun and none of the paperwork.

04
The Camaraderie

Police officers
 MILpictures by Tom Weber / Getty Images

Much is made of the so-called brotherhood of the thin blue line and the notion that cops band together and protect their own, allowing for corruption, a double standard, and a "rules don't apply to us" mentality. While it's not a problem to be ignored, there's another, much more positive side.

Law enforcement is a profession few can understand if they are not part of it. Working as a cop offers a sense of belonging and family that you won't find in many other careers. When the chips are down, police do band together to help their fellow officers.

05
Helping Others

Policewoman helping citizen
 Huntstock / Getty Images

There truly is nothing like the feeling that you've done something to make someone else's life just a little better. True, if you encounter a police officer on the job, you're probably not having a very good day. But most cops know that they can affect the outcome simply based on what they do or how they treat you.

Whether it's by helping you change a tire on the side of the road, showing a little compassion and empathy on a traffic stop or at a crash scene, or helping you see that justice is done if you're a victim of a crime, officers rarely forget that most of them took the job because they want to help others on a daily basis.

06
Saving Lives

Arresting person
SDI Productions / Getty Images 

Police officers save lives every day and it's just part of the job. Sometimes, it makes the news, like when a cop runs into a building to save a child, or when she puts herself in harm's way to protect the innocent or defenseless. 

There are countless others we will never know about, like the person who changed their driving habits because of a traffic ticket they got, the drunk driver who was taken off the road before he could crash into another vehicle, or the would-be robber that changed his mind simply because he saw a patrol car drive by. Even in the smallest things they do, police officers save lives every day, and there are few feelings as satisfying as knowing that fact.

07
The Respect

Cop and children
 Richard Hutchings / Getty Images

Perhaps everyone hates cops until they need one, but police officers still enjoy a measure of respect in their communities. Regardless of their rank or status, among their circles of friends, church groups or other community involvements they often are looked to as leaders and examples to be followed.

It's a tremendous responsibility, and officers often need to be reminded of the high ethical standard they are held to. Also, there's nothing like the way some kids look at you with pride when they see you in uniform.

08
The Responsibility

Police officers on the street
  Jean-Marc Romain / Getty Images

A lot of people want a job that matters. We all have to work, but most of us want that work to mean something and make a difference. The incredible responsibility that comes with being a police officer is a reward in and of itself. Officers do make a difference, and that's a great feeling, even if it feels like a heavy burden at times.

09
The Authority

Police officer pulling over man
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images 

There's something to be said for being able to tell people to do something and have them listen. It's also nice to see a problem and be able to fix it. Obviously, there's a tremendous potential to abuse the authority police have, but when used properly and for the good of others, it's great to be able to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

10
The Excitement

Police officers running
 UpperCut Images / Getty Images

Working in law enforcement can be 99% boredom, but the other 1% often is pure adrenaline-fueled excitement.

That doesn't mean cops are all thrill-seekers. Those exciting moments usually are some of the most frightening experiences you'll ever encounter. Rather, when those hot calls come in, and it's time to get to work, clarity and calm take over, and the excitement that comes with it is indescribable. There is a rewarding feeling from being in a volatile situation and being able to calmly take control and bring it to a successful, uneventful conclusion.